Harry Boykoff

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Harry Boykoff
Personal information
Born (1922-07-24)July 24, 1922
Brooklyn, New York
Died February 20, 2001(2001-02-20) (aged 78)
Santa Monica, California
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)
Listed weight 225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school Thomas Jefferson
(Brooklyn, New York)
College St. John's (1942–1943, 1945–1947)
Playing career 1947–1951
Position Center
Number 13, 24, 16
Career history
1947–1948 Toledo Jeeps
1948–1950 Waterloo Hawks
1950–1951 Boston Celtics
1951 Tri-Cities Blackhawks
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 1,105
Assists 209
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Harry J. Boykoff (July 24, 1922 – February 20, 2001) was a professional American basketball player. During his career he was often referred to as "Heshie", Big Hesh", and "Big Boy". He stood 6' 10" (2.08 m) tall.[1]

Early life

Boykoff was born on the Lower East Side, grew up in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, and was Jewish.[2][3][4]

Basketball career

Boykoff played high school basketball for Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, and college basketball for St. John's University (New York City), where he was an All American three years in a row.[3][4]

In a 1947 game at Madison Square Garden, while playing for St John's, he scored 54 points, more than the combined total of the opposing team.

Boykoff led St John's to the 1943 National Invitation Tournament championship.[4] He was awarded the MVP Award, and was named on several All-American teams.[4] He received a gold basketball emblematic of his selection on the All-America basketball team appearing in The Sporting News, a national sports newspaper.

He played for the Waterloo Hawks (1949–50), Boston Celtics and Tri-Cities Blackhawks (1950–51) in the National Basketball Association for a total of 109 games.[4]

In his 1948–49 season for Waterloo, Boykoff's shooting average (41.3%) was the fourth-highest in the league.

While playing for the Celtics, he was the highest paid NBA player, at around $15,000 per year.

He became so proficient at blocking shots that because of his play, the rules of the game were changed to prevent shots being blocked on their way down toward the basket (goaltending).[4]


Even with his outstanding record, Boykoff remained humble. He was quoted as saying:

I'm not an athlete, I'm just a big guy and a lucky one.[5]

Later in life Boykoff appeared in films and television shows such as Star Trek, Frasier, Town & Country, The Crew, on McDonald's cups and commercials, and a few others.[5]

Boykoff died in California at age 78, a victim of lung cancer.[5][4]

See also


  1. ^ Basketball Reference website, accessed January 8, 2011; note that the IMDB page for Harry Boykoff lists his height as 6'8".
  2. ^ Harry Boykoff
  3. ^ a b Boykoff, Harry : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Harry Boykoff, 78, St. John's Star in the 1940's, Dies - The New York Times
  5. ^ a b c Litsky, Frank (2001-04-15). "Harry Boykoff, 78, St. John's Star in the 1940's, Dies". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-26.

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from Basketball-Reference.com
  • Jews in Sports
  • https://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/15/sports/harry-boykoff-78-st-john-s-star-in-the-1940-s-dies.html?pagewanted=2
  • Harry Boykoff on IMDb
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